Tom Mix, Published October 05 2012
No. 2 Fargo Shanley defeats Valley City in football
But that didn’t mean the sophomore linebacker was on the sidelines when the game’s outcome hung in the balance.
Berg, who subbed in after senior Joe Laske left the game with an injury, broke up two passes late in the fourth quarter of Shanley’s 6-0 win over Valley City at Sid Cichy Stadium.
“For a sophomore to come in under those circumstances, it was really tough,” Shanley head coach Rod Oksendahl said. “Really give Alex a lot of credit for being ready to play.”
Berg’s first pass breakup of Hi-Liners quarterback Austin Svenningsen came on a third-and-14 on the Deacons 27-yard line with just under six minutes left. He nearly intercepted the pass and appeared to have a clear path for an easy touchdown, but the ball slick with icy sleet slipped from his grasp.
The Hi-Liners had one last chance to extend their drive in Shanley territory and get the go-ahead score, but again Berg denied the chains from moving.
On fourth-and-14, he batted down a Svenningsen pass intended for Tayler Lentz that would have given Valley City a new set of downs.
“That pick six, I should have had that,” Berg said. “I maybe could have gotten that last one on fourth down, but I thought why not just bat it down, because we are going to get the ball, and I wasn’t going to get the ball to the line of scrimmage.”
Berg had played in a junior varsity game against Valley City earlier in the week, which Oksendahl said was beneficial for Berg.
“He seemed to read things really well and did a great job of tackling out there,” Oksendahl said. “I am sure he wishes he had that one almost-interception back, but at least he was in position to get it.
“Then he made a great play on the far sideline to knock that pass down. That was the difference, because their receiver was open. It was a huge play.”
The North Dakota Class 2A, No.2-ranked Deacons (5-2 overall, 4-1 East Region) executed an 11-play drive and got inside the Valley City 5-yard line before taking a knee to seal the win.
“Our defense played terrific,” sophomore running back and defensive back Danny Stasch said. “The first quarter they had a couple good plays, but after that we started to figure out their plays and we really shut them down. It felt good to put a zero up.”
Stasch, who rushed for 150 yards on 18 carries, scored the game’s lone touchdown with 1:33 left in the first half. He took a pitch from Deacons quarterback Chase Montplaisir and broke it for a 90-yard score.
Prior to that, it had been slim pickings on the ground for Stasch, who had just 24 yards in his first eight carries.
“I knew that our blocks would be there eventually,” Stasch said. “We just needed to get a good push and we did. It just took a while to get things down. I wasn’t too worried.”
Oksendahl said Laske exited the game with a sprained knee and may be out for several weeks.
Shane Undem totaled 83 yards rushing on 21 carries to pace the Hi-Liners (4-2, 3-2).
Valley City lost fumbles on its first two possessions of the game. Both fumbles were lost in Shanley territory.
“In a close game like this one, there is not a lot of margin for error,” Valley City head coach Scott Roehrich said. “Both teams did a good job of playing very solid football, but don’t take any credit away from Shanley.”
VC 0 0 0 0–0
FS 0 6 0 0–6
S–Stasch 90 run (pass failed).
RUSHING: VC, Undem 21-83, Breckheimer 7-21, Olstad 15-32, Lindgren 5-13. S, Stasch 18-150, Laske 1-1, Simon 2-5, Montplaisir 4-(-21), J. Berg 3-11, Fort 1-33, Burd 3-13.
PASSING: VC, Svenningsen 2-8-0–37. S, Montplaisir 7-13-0–77.
RECEIVING: VC, T. Lentz 2-37. S, Arnold 3-49, McGovern 1-9, Meyer 2-17, Stasch 1-2.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562